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Intl. Day for Palestinian Journalists: Global call to honor, support Gaza journalists

By Press TV Website Staff

Almost five months since Israel launched its war on Palestinians in Gaza; at least 132 journalists have been killed in the line of duty while many others continue to live on the edge.

To pay tribute to the fallen journalists and extend solidarity to those who continue to report from the besieged territory under extremely challenging conditions, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is marking February 26 as the International Day in support of Palestinian Journalists.

The day has been endorsed by many other international journalist bodies, including the Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ) and other affiliates, the IFJ said in a statement posted on its website.

“The needs of our colleagues working in Gaza have become critical. In the middle of winter, our sisters and brothers and their families lack everything and especially the essentials: clothes, blankets, tents, food, water,” the IFJ said in the statement, referring to the scarcity of basic necessities.

The international journalist body also expressed “alarm” over the “poor international coverage” of Israel’s war on Gaza, pointing to the Western media’s disregard for Palestinian lives.

“All over the world, we deserve to know what is going on in Gaza. This deliberate denial of the right to report is an abuse of media freedom,” it stated, urging journalists all over the world to mobilize on what will be referred to as the International Day for Palestinian Journalists.

Journalists have been deliberately targeted in Gaza since October 7 for unmasking the regime’s atrocities against Palestinians. Even their families have been killed and their houses destroyed.

In its annual report released on February 15, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said 72 of 99 journalists killed worldwide in 2023 were Palestinians reporting on Israel’s war on Gaza.

“In December 2023, CPJ reported that more journalists were killed in the first three months of the Israel-Gaza war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year,” the CJP noted.

“What’s important to remember about this war is that Gazan journalists are the only journalists able to report on what’s happening inside Gaza. International journalists have not been able to get in, have not been allowed in, except on very, very controlled trips that are overseen by the Israeli army,” Jodie Ginsberg, president of the CPJ, was quoted as saying.

Many journalists and journalist associations and unions have in separate statements endorsed the idea of marking February 26 as the International Day for Palestinian Journalists.

“The Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists Union stands in solidarity with our colleagues in Israeli-occupied Palestine. In the 140 days since October 7, nearly 120 journalists have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank: almost one per day,” the World Freelance Journalist Union said in a statement.

“The increasingly scant resources available to Palestinians have exacerbated the conditions on the ground, making Gaza the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist.”

The union said it is joining the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and the International Federation of Journalists for the International Day for Palestinian Journalists “to celebrate the bravery and critical work being done to cover atrocities by the Israeli military.”

Pertinently, the toll of journalists killed in Gaza since October 7 has even surpassed World War II – 69 media personnel were killed in World War II which lasted from 1939 to 1945.

Media organizations have repeatedly protested against Israel’s deliberate targeting of journalists, describing it as a war crime under international humanitarian law.

“With their arbitrary air strikes, the Israeli armed forces are eliminating journalists one after the other without restraint, all while their unacceptable comments betray an open contempt for international humanitarian law,” Jonathan Dagher, the head of RSF’s West Asia desk, said in a statement in December.

Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), an organization representing journalists, has also expressed concern over what it calls the “unprecedented and devastating effects on journalists in Palestine.”

 “Local journalists in Gaza continue to risk their lives at the frontlines of the story. Yet like much of the civilian population, they are battling starvation, lack of shelter, and shortages of food and water,” the alliance said in a recent statement, calling journalists “eyes and ears of the world” on the Gaza war.

“Many journalists are living under canvas, shifting from tent to tent as the conflict engulfs more of Gaza, while others sleep in school buildings with thousands of other displaced people.”

Jarni Blakkarly, who works with the MEAA, took to X to denounce the deliberate killing of journalists.

“Today is International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Journalists. Journos in Gaza are being murdered in a blatant attempt to destroy the world’s ability to know what is happening on the ground,” he wrote.

Stella Assange, wife of Wikileaks founder and jailed whistleblower Julian Assange, in a post on X on Monday also extended her support to Palestinian journalists.

“On October 21st, IFJ President @DomPradalie visited Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison. Julian expressed his deep fears for the plight of journalists in #Gaza and said that he was concerned about the enormous challenges they were faced to continue reporting,” she wrote.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, in a statement posted on social media, also joined the call to observe February 26 as the International Day for Palestinian Journalists.

The European Federation of Journalists, one of the largest organizations representing journalists in Europe, in a statement said they would hold a protest outside the Residence Palace building in Brussels.

The National Union of Journalists based in the UK, in a statement on Monday, said it remembers “colleagues in Gaza killed since October 7” on the International Day for Palestinian Journalists.

“On International Day for Palestinian Journalists the #NUJ remembers colleagues in Gaza killed since 7 October. Join a minute's silence at noon today & donate to the IFJ's safety fund providing essential food, blankets & more,” it said in a statement.

In a report published on Monday, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said Syrian journalists in all provinces held a minute’s silence for journalists killed by the Israeli regime in Gaza.

Tunisia’s TAP news agency also reported that the country’s leading journalist union “has called on all journalists to take part in the International Day of Solidarity with #Palestinian Journalists, scheduled for February 26, outside its headquarters in #Tunis and to observe a minute's silence.”

Antony Balmain, a journalist from Australia, said he was “proud” to be among journalists worldwide “standing in solidarity with colleagues” for Palestinian journalists.

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